in lieu of new year’s resolutions (and to show support and solidarity with the #oneword365 movement), i’ve spent the last several januarys of my life carefully choosing a word that i hope will shape the coming year. this is perfect for me for a couple different reasons:
a) it doesn’t lock me into anything. selecting a word over a resolution is open-ended. it leaves room for mistakes and loose ends, and it allows the year to unfold on its own, taking on whatever shape and form it wants to.
and b) i love words. seriously. LOVE THEM. anyone who knows me knows they are my truest love language. i eat them up hungrily, as if they’re a starving man’s bread. i hold them carefully within me, knowing they hold weight and power and beauty and meaning, and that one must always be careful with sacred things. “words are pale shadows of forgotten names. as names have power, words have power. words can light fires in the minds of men. words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” (patrick rothfuss, the name of the wind)
words are more than just words, if they’re used correctly.
so for the past few years, it’s been nothing but words for me. 2012: forgive. 2013: grace. 2014: whole. 2015: home.
when this new year began, i honestly didn’t give much thought to what my word would be. one morning, however, as i sat down with some coffee and my journal, it introduced itself to me. grow. that’s my word for 2016.
this year, i want to see growth. i want to grow. i tend to think of grow in the agricultural sense. it begins with a seed being planted, and to plant, sometimes your hands have to get a little dirty and sometimes it’s hard and sometimes you get tired or hurt. then there’s the cultivation part: you give the plant, simply, what it needs to live. then comes the waiting, the patience, the trust. and then, suddenly–there’s growth.
this year, i want some things to grow that have years ago already been planted. i want to learn to wait well in the process, and to trust wholeheartedly. i want to care for and nurture the things that bring me life and yes, i dare say it, i want to even get a little messy, a little sloppy, to dig my hands into the earth and plant things. the process of grow-ing is my word for this year because it’s real and it’s raw and it reminds me that he truly does make everything beautiful in its time.
this year, my body will grow with the life inside of me, as will my heart, and i want to accept the expansion, especially after i’ve lived so long learning the art of shrinking, of not taking up too much space. this year, i will grow, and i will not apologize for the widening, the lengthening, nor the ownership of every inch i have been given. this year i will grow, in every single way, and it will be a good thing, because growth is the way of a rich and full life.
i will grow in discipline, in steadfastness, in the staying put and staying present when the going gets tough and the tough gets going.
i will grow in patience and boldness, in wisdom and in selecting my words carefully, in saying what i mean and meaning what i say.
i will grow in letting go and saying goodbye to people and places that, for whatever reason, are not walking with me on this new road in this new season. i will grow in wishing them well, acknowledging the hurt but refusing to allow it to paralyze me.
i will grow in seeing myself as worthy, as one who’s capable, as one whose value cannot be diminished by weight gain or a bad hair day or mistakes and failures. i will grow in being me: a lover of and beloved by God, a wife, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a student, a mama to-be. i will grow in other ways too, other ways of being fully me.
i will grow in my ability to wear my heart on my sleeve and freely explore my emotions.
i will grow in listening well and listening carefully, to offer advice when it’s asked for and if not, to simply let someone know she’s been heard.
i will grow in my ability to smile and even laugh in both good times and bad, because i have found a well of joy, and i have learned to drink deeply from it.
i will grow in my passion to defend the powerless, to care for the weak, to give a voice to the voiceless.
this year, i am determined that i will grow–and in doing so, i will become more and more like the woman i was always meant to be.
Image from Flickr//Creative Commons